Tourism is the fastest growing industry in St. Lucia and the hotel development and the beautiful beaches are what is being ...
marketed to the outside world. Many St. Lucia's residents have left the traditional trades behind to work in the tourism.
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Tourism Industry in St. Lucia
Narrator: Tourism is the fastest growing sector of the economy here. This being a boom in hotel and resort development has declined into natural beauty of St. Lucia is marketed abroad.
Walter was one of those who left traditional trades behind to work in a hotel.
Walter: I haven’t been involved in the tourism industry as I'm right now, its given me a great appreciation for what is natural and what is in St. Lucia. I'm proud to work in here. For example, the -- I wake up every morning and I see the -- and to me it just another tall piece of stone. Now what -- when I see, what it’s worth in terms of how the tourists, you know, they look at the peak -- and what it’s worth. The breath taking part of it then I get to appreciate what’s existing right now. And now I look at a tree not just a tree but something that contributes to keeping the air clean and part of a total environmental heritage and stuff like that.
So it does make me look at the country in a different light. Also being in the tourism industry one does not have any time to be a harsh person. You have to be a friendly person so it does refine me in a way to be more socializing, more accommodating and it does make me a more friendly sort of person because in my line of work, you have to be friendly. You have to be smiling, you have to be interacting. See that has been that for me.
Also financially, the tourism industry has been if you get me, I'm able to support my family on what I get in terms of my salary. I think also some other changes is that we -- in growing up, I was used to -- in the morning, having breakfast from the leftovers from the following night. And now that was sort of disappeared. It’s like, in the morning everybody wants wheaties and corn pops and coco pops and stuff like that. So to an extent, our diet, it has that changed quite a bit.
I think that’s we call the advent of television. Mostly I’d say right now, 85% of all the houses on the island that you have televisions and what you see are basically American and foreign television and actually we have adapted to some of the American way of life. So in terms of educating us, it has been to advantage but in terms of our culture and what we believe as our morals as a small country, it has done some damage in that area.
Narrator: The number of tourists coming to St. Lucia doubles the island’s population annually. But the huge influx of people strained St. Lucia’s infrastructure.
Walter: Sometimes the -- what has to be rationed. As we develop is there’s a greater demand on these utilities so at times we go to a few days without wanting.
Narrator: A new dam has been built to meet the growing demand for water but the forest clearance on the hills means it’s silting up.
The hotel where Walter works was built on St. Lucia’s most famous natural spot between the course of two ancient volcanoes known as the Pitons.
Despite the efforts of the earnest to make the buildings blend with the natural habitat, developments like these change the landscape. But their attempts to minimize disruption are more than just cosmetic. Here, they’ve built their own sewage treatment plant. In theory, this should prevent damage to the marine life around. The aim is to fertilize the soil for growing vegetables in the hotel’s own grounds using the treated sewage affluent.
Walter: This then shows that no sewage goes into the sea. What in there is treated right here through a mechanical system and that’s what we use to irrigate the whole property. So even during the hot season, you’d find it looking very, very green. That’s because of the irrigation system that they have put in place from the sewage. Also this is a precaution that’s necessary to keep the environment looking friendly and safe and it’s very costly based while working.
Narrator: Despite the efforts made by the hotel developers to protect their natural surroundings, some argue places like this should never be developed in the first place at any cost. And already, there are plans to extend the hotel complex.
Much of St. Lucia’s coastline is under threat with demands from would-be hotels and leisure centers. The question is, where to draw the line when they risk destroying the very things that draw the tourists here in the first place.
Walter: You have to make just an amount of sacrifice if you want to develop a country. For example, Sufre, which is the small town which is the most picturesque town, it could be the most picturesque town in the Caribbean. There’s the need for like the docking facilities there. And if you are to go to that place you would definitely have to destroy some of the marine vegetations, some of the marine life. And I think this is one project that would be well worth the environmental impact. I think it’s well worth it.
Narrator: Andre is another who makes his living from the tourist industry. He sees the environmental impact of tourism at firsthand as he takes his clients on underwater trips.
Andre: Once permission has been given to develop and it is much easier for these individuals to come back in and further develop these areas.
Narrator: The changes of the growing tourism trade is making to St. Lucia admired elsewhere in the Caribbean. For some, the changes in development of the island are inevitable and are for the good. For others, they need to be checks and the balance achieved.
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